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Organizations helping older adults sign-up for vaccine waitlist

senior center

SUPERIOR, WI-- Many adults 65 and older are finding a new challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virginia resident Beverly Ranisate said, "They were filled up and you just couldn't get in." when she tried to sign-up for a vaccine waitlist in Minnesota.

Those at Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency are working with older adults in five Wisconsin counties as there have been some technology gaps when it comes to getting on vaccine waitlists.

"Even for folks who have smartphones, that doesn't always mean they know how to navigate those machines," said Jenny Van Sickle who manages NWCSA's senior center. "So, I will walk people through right over the phone how to use some of those resources and apps."

NWCSA said they've added the Douglas County vaccine hotline to their phone messaging system and are handing out flyers at food distribution events.

"We're doing our best to help folks navigate the technological pieces of just getting the basic and accurate information," said Van Sickle.

Other challenges they're seeing are a lack of transportation and a lack of broadband access.
But also, people not knowing what resources to trust.

"Making sure that again, the information they do have access to is reliable and doesn't jeopardize anybody's safety," added Van Sickle. "So, we want to make sure that when folks call, we use verified websites and trusted sources."

The supply and demand of the vaccine is another challenge.
Van Sickle said there's been a lot of confusion and frustration over the fact that just because they're eligible doesn't mean these older adults are guaranteed an appointment.

"Well because it's not going to help us people with pre-existing conditions. We should be next in line after the nursing homes and schools and all this done," said Ranisate.

They say if you need help finding your local health department information you are always welcome to call and ask for help.

Click here for more information.

Emma Quinn

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